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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 7:00 PM

We’re now just hours away from what might be one of the biggest sports stories of the last decade. The Miami Heat…a team so powerful that they stormed through the final weeks of the regular season with barely a blemish…are now one loss away from a stunning implosion.

Losing to Indiana would mean that the franchise that supposedly “bought” a championship by bringing in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh at the same time would have only one title to show for it despite playing in the league’s weak conference. Sure, they could bounce back next year. But…the way Wade is aging, and Bosh continues to fade from relevance…any future Miami championship would be more about James and NEW people rather than “the big three.”

Wade’s reputation has taken a big hit because he continues to break down…continues to show displeasure about lack of respect…and continues to be a net negative on the floor way too often. Bosh was always the third wheel. His lack of physicality is a particular problem against somebody like Indiana. And, even though LeBron has largely maintained his star power status in this series because of big play production on both ends of the court…many critics will find his “intangibles” lacking if he can’t “lead” this team to another title. You didn’t see Michael Jordan having troubles like this as a big favorite!

The league is definitely on pins and needles at the moment, because this dynasty might crumble before it got anywhere near being an actual dynasty. Good luck selling an Indiana-San Antonio finals outside of the two home states! And, good luck selling “star power” as the key to success in the league if two TEAMS who play well as units (particularly for Indiana on defense, the Spurs on offense) are carrying the banner for the league. You don’t see Tony Parker pretending to be twins to sell insurance. You don’t see Paul George repeatedly going back in time to talk to a younger version of himself (who somehow keeps forgetting all the other visits). Jack Nicholson isn’t sitting in the front row to watch Tim Duncan. Can you imagine Woody Allen in Indiana?

A lot at stake for both franchises…and the league…in Monday’s seventh game. Let’s see if there are any reasons sports bettors should have a lot at stake on either the side or the total.

 

GAME SEVEN

INDIANA at MIAMI

Vegas Line: Miami by 7, total of 181

Series Tied 3-3

Miami continues to get respect in the line, even though they’ve only covered two of the prior six in this series. They did win their last home game by 11 points…which is enough to generate square interest. Plus, those playing the “bounce back” theory every game are undefeated thus far in this matchup. Miami is the team coming off a loss.

The total has dropped back down to early season levels because the refs stopped calling fouls. This has been a clear Over series when the refs were front and center, then a clear under series when they backed off. Who will the league assign to this game? If you see attention-hog referees on the floor, the Over might deserve some consideration.

Average Result: Miami by 0.7 in regulation

Average Total: 185.3 in regulation

The raw math doesn’t justify Miami being such a pricey favorite. We’ve now played three games at both sites, so home court advantage cancels out in the average. Miami is “barely” better than Indiana to this point.

One thing to keep in mind though is that the players on this Heat team know what it’s like to play in a seventh game (they had to beat Boston in seven last year to win the East), and they know what it’s like to WIN both conference and league championships. Indiana’s still learning. Indiana can be a mistake-prone mess even when things are going well! The Pacers lost the ball 20 times in a Game One loss that went overtime, and 18 times in their Game Six victory. Who’s more likely to execute well in the last five minutes of a close game?

Interesting questions for Las Vegas bettors and handicappers to ponder. JIM HURLEY has left no stone unturned in making sure his clients get the right side or total selection (maybe a parlay!). You can purchase the final word for Game Seven of the Eastern Finals right here at the website Monday afternoon in the hours leading up to tipoff. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Back Tuesday to talk baseball. Our next NBA report will come Thursday…just in time for Game One of the Championship series between the Eastern survivor and the San Antonio Spurs.

The Eastern Champion will be determined Monday Night. When championships are on the line…you need WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!

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